It's all the fun and excitement of the previous portable Mario Kart games and more!
20 to 40 Hours
The Bottom Line:
Mario Kart 7is like Mario Kart Wii on the go. It highly resembles its predecessor, more so than the DS version, for example. It sees the reappearance of non-specific karts and parts but exchanges the previous bikes for a glider and a propeller. It is certainly innovative in this aspect while still maintaining the excitement of the Mario Kart games that preceded it.
-Incredible visuals (the 3D is amazing, it looks as good as the Wii version)
-Many different Kart-Wheel-Glider combinations for you to choose from
-17 different characters, including your own customizable Mii character
-Mario Kart Channel is quite interesting, allowing you to race the ghost data/character data of people you meet through SpotPass
-Competitive online ranking system with little noticeable connection issues
-Flying/Gliding through the air is an awesome feeling and is a great new game mechanism that I hope they will keep in the future
-Multi-player, as usual, is awesome
-Drifting mechanism is quite different (for those of you used to abusing it in the DS version, it takes a lot longer to get the boost)
-Blue Shells now travel on the ground, allowing them to potentially knock everyone out now, in addition to the guy in first place
-The Lucky 7 item is not so lucky as it is quite common for something to hit the Bob-omb, causing you to explode with it and lose the other 6 items.
-Mission mode did not make a comeback from the DS version, which is a bit sad, though it focuses the gameplay to racing mostly
Though the game is out already, I would not put it past Nintendo to possibly release additional game data online. I would love to see many of the features of the Gamecube's Double Dash re-implemented in Mario Kart 7, such as the unique character items, duo drivers, and Bob-omb battle. Of course this is only wishful thinking.
Overall, however, Mario Kart 7 is a great buy and a must-have for each and every Nintendo 3DS owner, no matter your age, gender, rage, or what-not. Additionally, each friend of yours that also has the game adds even more value to it. Multi-player in Mario Kart 7 is unparalleled and is great for long bus/airplane rides with friends and family alike.
Fun, fun , and more fun This game is a game you outta have for 3s
10 to 20 Hours
The Bottom Line:
If you have a 3DS this is one game you must have. This is a very fun game. The best MK game yet. It has everything you like. If you like mario kart game then this game is for you. One of 2011 best handheld game. This game is so fun. Playing online makes the game even better. This is a must have. Mario Kart games are pretty easy to beat. It doesn't have a story mode. It does have grand prix. This is a good game to play with the 3D. It doesn't hurt the eyes as much as the other 3ds games. I think they could improve with these mario kart games by adding a story mode and more characters. Very amazing game. I love it. Mario Kart was never this fun. They improve with every Mario Kart game they make. Mario Kart 7 should the skills the 3ds can have in the future. For people that doesn't think the 3ds have graphics or have the power to have big graphics games MK7 is just a preview of the future . 2012 might be a hug year for 3ds.
If you don't have Mario Kart 7 for your 3DS, you clearly don't have a 3DS.
40 to 100 Hours
The Bottom Line:
"Best in series"
Ladies and gentlemen (but mostly gentlemen), THIS is the game that will make you break down ad buy a 3DS (either that or Super Mario 3D Land). Hyped so much since it was announced, Mario Kart 7 lives up to the hype and Nintendo gives us the goods by adding in tons of small innovations, fantastic tracks and level design, a good sense of 3D depth, loads of stuff to unlock, and the most addicting gameplay in the series yet. If you're reading this review, you're about to find out why Mario Kart 7 is the real deal for portable racing.
.Mario Kart in 3D for the first time
.New gameplay features such as hang gliding, racing underwater, first person view, and customization
.1 lap in a few of the tracks (consisting of three sections)
.16 jaw dropping new tracks filled with shortcuts, ramps, and excitement
.16 retro courses, slightly redesigned to include new shortcuts and ramps
.Return of the mirror mode and Time Trial
.17 characters to play as (9 of them you need to unlock), including your Mii character
.Customization parts that you can unlock, and the type of wheel you use gains an advantage in certain races
.Trick System from Mario Kart Wii is back (!!!)
.New weapons such as the Tanooki Leaf, Fire Flower, and the Number 7 item
.The return of Coins (from Super Mario Kart and Mario Kart Circuit)
.Gameplay that caters to older Mario Kart fans and new Mario Kart fans
.Return of Battle Mode and Coin Runners
.Online Multiplayer and Local
Mario Kart 7 includes some new items, departures from the series, and items that follow the concept of the older MK games. Some of the items from previous games such as the Fake Question block, Pow Block, and Boo are GONE (Lets face it, anyone could avoid the fake block, the Pow Block sucked, and while the Boo item was useful, it really didn't matter if you were in first place, and most of the time it only got you a green shell or a banana.)! There's no Mission Mode from Mario Kart DS, which is a shame, though this game already has plenty of replay value. The Blue Shell it is wingless like older games, and can attack anyone in its way like its predecessors. Coins are back, and they can be used to gain speed and unlock customization parts (which I'll get to later). New items that enter Mario Kart 7 are the fire flower (fire rapid fireballs), the Tanooki Leaf (used to whack any enemy behind you with a tail, and also back from Super mario 3D Land), and the Number 7 item. This item is rare and when you get it, you get to use seven different items at a time, which kicks ass. The Tanooki Leaf is my favorite because nothing else is as satisfying as seeing your opponent flip like crazy because you whacked him/her with the tail.
Lets get talking on the new features. You can now hang glide whenever you hit a blue speed ramp, allowing for strategy and new gameplay concepts. I should mention that Mario Kart 7's new features are similar to Diddy Kong Racing (Nintendo 64, 1997). Not only that, you can also now race underwater (careful, not EVERY place water's in), allowing for more ways to race. First Person mode is also included (along with motion control), and it works way better than you think it would. Be cautious though; you have to switch from slide pad controls to motion controls (vice versa), so pay attention! Customization is also included, and while it may sound like Nintendo included tedious part changes and color schemes, you actually instead can unlock new karts, wheels, and gliders via coins. The Trick System is back as well, though the motorcycles are nowhere to be seen.
So how are the controls? Really good. The controls have been tweaked to perfection. The comfortable slide pad is perfect for all those turns in the game, and it's very responsive as well. Although drifting is slightly more difficult to perform, that just makes it more fun to perform. I mentioned the motion control in first person mode, and you surprisingly rarely lose the 3D effect even while tilting the 3DS!
The gameplay is pure unadulterated fun. The memorable new tracks are AMAZING, and even change as you enter a new lap. You'll leap over a lake in the wonderful countryside of Daisy Hills, to driving ion a highway in Wuhu Island Loop from the Wii Sports games, to the waterslide paradise of Piranha Plant Slide, to the stormy seas of Wario's Galleon, and even to the Frozen Tundra of Rosalina's Ice World (or Lambeau Field). Each track is exciting and full of surprises. My personal favorite has to be the new Rainbow Road course. It's the best Rainbow Road ever, and you even don't have to drive on a rainbow! You can even go on THE MOON, around Saturn's Rings, and very high in the sky for a loop! The Donkey Kong Country Returns Jungle track is excellent, and I recall fond memories of playing the game on the Wii Christmas Morning in 2010. But when the statues screeched their faces scared the hell out of me! Seriously! It's also really fun to unlock car parts and characters (such as Metal Mario and Shy Guy). Although there's less characters than in MK Wii, that just makes it less annoying in general.
Shortcuts and ramps are plentiful as well. You'll miss most of them when you play them for the first time, but repeated plays can reveal these hidden shortcuts. For example, in Wuhu Mountain Loop, as I reached the castle, I noticed a muddy road that lead to water. I went there, and surely enough, I found a dirt path underwater with a few coins, leading me back up the trail ahead of the pack. Better yet, ANOTHER shortcut was straight ahead as I went through the middle of the castle to play myself further ahead. Another cool one was in Bowser's Castle. Right before the last thwomp, I noticed a small platform leading to the top of the spinning tunnel you go through. I jumped through it, gaining a boost and having a huge lead. These shortcuts and ramps are plentiful, so explore the tracks and find them!
The Hang Gliding and Underwater Sections work great as well, adding branching paths and new strategies. The Hang Glider is fantastic, having you catch huge air as you fly in the distance. I loved using it in the Wuhu tracks, and as well in Bowser's Castle, where i allows you to reach two shortcuts! Aiming it at the right spot allows for a small boost and gives you a shortcut, which is sweet. The Underwater sections of the game are also excellent. Jumping of a ramp allows a burst of speed in midair instead of when you land on the ground, and now you won't be afraid to enter the water ever again!
The 3D effect is good but not great. There isn't that big of a difference in depth with the 3D slide in use, but I could see items clearer in the distance, and the pop up 3D is there. Although the depth isn't big, the courses look great in 3D, so that's good.
You might expect Nintendo to simply rehash the retro courses from the Snes, N64, GBA, Gamecube, DS, and Wii without making any big changes, but you would be WRONG! That's right, the retro courses have some redesigns that make them a little different then the respective consoles they first appeared on, which will surprise longtime fans like me. The even add the hang glider and underwater racing to these courses, another huge plus! You can now drive underwater in Koopa Troopa Beach (YES!), and I noticed that the waterfall shortcut was placed differently then it was before. Kalimari Desert has three new shortcuts (one of them being a ramp near the end, and sorry, no train track shortcut this time), The Daisy Cruiser shortcut is now underwater, Koopa Cape replaces lightning bolts in the tunnels with Cheep Cheeps (as well as being underwater), DK Pass is fogged up (and yes the secret box is still there), and there's even a new ramp shortcut in the lava of Bowser Castle 1 (GBA). I also noticed that the mall from Mario Kart Wii took away a car in the final stretch, making it easier to pass the other two cars. But get this, Nintendo got smart and added the SNES RAINBOW ROAD AS THE FINAL RETRO TRACK! And that just rocks! The thwomps are back, unlike in Super Circuit, and when they hit the ground, you can do tricks off them. All things considered, the retro tracks changes are a welcome surprise to those who played them before. The Mirror Mode extends the replay value to a new peak as well. Considering I've said previously, this makes Time Trial all that fun to play.
As well as the normal modes, you also get the Balloon battle and Coin runners, and both are more fun as they've ever been. Three new courses (a Bee hive, a skating Rink, and Wuhu Town) and three retro courses (DS Island, GBA Battle #1, and N64 Big Donut) have been added This time however, the Balloon Battle instead requires you to pop the most balloons to win. Nonetheless, it's fun as hell, and sniping an enemy with a shell is great. The coin runners game is back, and it's also great fun. I love exploring the battle tracks and when you or another racer gets attacked and loses their coins, it's a frenzy you can't miss! The multiplayer aspect is amazing, and these modes prove it.
The Graphics are excellent and are (of course) some of the best the 3DS has to offer. The characters look cool, the new tracks are beautiful and the detail is second to none for a 3DS. The Retro courses also have a makeover, and with added 3D, it looks even better. When you're gliding in the air, seeing the background in the distance reveals the polish and effort Nintendo has put into this game. The music is also the best in the series since Mario Kart 64, and I loved the main menu theme. Each song is memorable and catchy, so use the earphones! My personal favorite has to be the new Bowser's Castle track, it's ominously low key and feels like a close cousin of Rammstein.
I do have a few complaints. Holding the A button down cramped my thumb after a while, and while it's not a big deal, it still is there. The map doesn't include enemies on it like it did in Mario Kart DS, which will confuse some players. I also hate that the red Shell can follow you no matter how high in the air you can possibly get, which is unreal. Finally, where's the options screen? Seriously, Nintendo? Oh well, these flaws are minor and really if they ruin the fun for you, you're stupid. I could complain about the amount of Blue Shells, Green Shells, Red Shells, "unbalanced" items, cool shortcut glitches removed from the retro tracks, and the fact that the AI is kept close at 150 CC, but that's what makes Mario Kart Mario Kart.
If you don't have Mario Kart 7 for your 3DS, you clearly don't have a 3DS. It's 16 tracks are jam packed with excitement, shortcuts, and loads of surprises. The single player and multiplayer modes are filled with replay value that will have you playing up to the wee hours of morning. Personally, I played for hours upon hours each day, loving every minute of it, and I never got the least bit bored or frustrated. The races are wild as ever, and older MK audiences will embrace the amount of retro joy this game has. No 3DS racing game can come close to this, and this makes Mario Kart DS look like crap! If you pick up Mario Kart 7, be warned, you can never put it back down.
Graphics: 9.5/10: The 3D is good but not great, but it gets the job done. The tracks look beautiful especially with 3D and a framerate of 60 fps.
Sound: 10/10: Fantastic music and sound effects. The best since Mario Kart 64
Value: 10/10: The single player mode, multiplayer, and tons of hidden secrets will keep you coming back, and back, and back, and back, and back...
Final Score: 9.7/10 (A)
A great addition for anyone's 3DS library, but it's not the best MK game around.
40 to 100 Hours
The Bottom Line:
The visuals are vibrant and colourful, which is to be expected in a Nintendo game. While it looks very nice, it does not divert from the path with other games from this company.
It's pretty hit-or-miss here. Some of the music is super catchy, while other tracks have utterly forgettable music tracks.
Here's where the game shows its value.
There are 32 tracks: 16 new, and 16 from past MK games. It's all divided into eight cups, four tracks in each cup, like other MK games. I am pleased with the vintage tracks they chose (ex. Waluigi Pinball, Kalimari Desert) and I do not have much to complain about with the vintage tracks selected. The new tracks don't disappoint either with their varying locales and cool locations.
There are two new gameplay mechanics to the kart racing: 1) Underwater driving. It isn't all that different from driving on land, but the physics change, which forces you to adapt to the changed surface. And 2) Gliding. Sometimes you will launch in the air and your character will whip out their glider and glide over hazards and parts of the track. With enough skill and the right items, you can really cover some ground with the glider.
If you find the AI too easy, you can check out the online mode, which is where the game increases in value even more. It runs pretty smoothly, provided your entire party has a good connection; otherwise, you'll finish races in totally random, confusion-inducing positions. There are also communities if you'd like to race within a group of friends or online communities.
The gameplay has ultimately not been changed all that much, but this franchise never fails to please and any 3DS looking for solid, kart-racing action, then this is the game for you.
Lucky #7 strikes again; Mario Kart 7 might just be the best game in the series
20 to 40 Hours
The Bottom Line:
"Best in series"
What kart racing game is better known in the genre than the Mario Kart series? Since 1994, every Nintendo console has received one addition to the king of all kart racers, each improving in some way or offering their own unique twist to keep the series going. Recently, for the new Nintendo 3DS hand held, Nintendo manages to do it again with Mario Kart 7. With an excellent track design, small innovations and loads of unlockables, Mario Kart 7 might just be the best Mario Kart game in the series.
The basic gameplay and structure is once again unchanged from its predecessors. When starting with grand prix mode you are given the choice between 50cc, 100cc, and 150cc which determines the difficulty level. Choose one of 16 of your favorite Mario characters, choose your tracks and off you go. The standards haven't changed for grand prix, it's just try to win or place very well in each race and get the highest score after all 4 races. Completing each set of tracks on 150cc (hard) will unlock a new character for you to use. The babies, Birdo, Waluigi and many others have unfortunately been booted but newcomers include Metal Mario, Honey Queen, Wiggler and Lakitu. I am personally not a fan of the newer characters but there are still plenty of other great racers to choose from, though the only thing the affect is the weight of your kart.
Other modes are available to you as well such as time trial mode, which as always let's you race against the clock and even staff ghosts to try to get the best time. Next is battle mode, which is set up similarly to the Wii's battle mode where you must hit your opponents with items and get the highest score in one of 6 arenas. Lastly, there's coin runner in which you must collect the most coins before time runs out. These other modes are decent to play against the AI but they're even more fun to play against your friends and there are plenty of ways to customize the rules and settings.
As with previous games, you can also use items on your opponents in hopes of catching up or defending yourself. Items returning include the red/green shells, banana peels, the dreaded blue shell, the lightning, the invincibility star, the squid, the bomb, and bullet bill. There are also 3 new items; the first is the raccoon tail which allows you to whack anyone that gets close. The second is the fire flower which lets you shoot fire balls in front of or behind you and slow down other racers. Lastly, there's "lucky number 7" which gives you 7 items to take out your opponents. These items all have their uses and the new ones are welcome additions that don't make the game feel cheap. The game is mostly balanced but the blue shell is still a bit of an annoyance and will still hit you 50 yards from the finish line, leaving you to watch other racers pass you by.
The track design in Mario Kart 7 is probably one of its stronger qualities. In fact, these are debatabley the best designed tracks in the entire series. Each track feels fresh and unique as you race through the beautiful countryside of Maka Wuhu to driving on the highway of Neo Bowser City to racing through space on the new and improved Rainbow Road. Each track is fun and full of surprises. New to the series are even longer tracks that loop around and last one lap instead of 3, which are a welcome change of pace. That's not all, in addition to driving comes sections where you take to the skies and hand glide or race under water. Hand gliding adds to the fun as you decide whether it's better to land as soon as possible or stay in the air to avoid obstacles, get items or even take short cuts. Under water races are a cool idea too but they don't add as much as they can occasionally slow some races down. Both make the game stand out from the rest though, in the 16 new tracks OR the 16 retro tracks. That's right, these retro tracks from the SNES, N64, GBA, GC, DS and Wii aren't just total rehashes of the originals. They have been slightly altered to make way for these new mechanics and they work great. These old favorites have never been more fun.
What about the karts? Well, instead of pre selected karts or bikes like the last games offered, now you can create your own in a combination of the kart body, wheels and gliders. Each part affects your stats in speed, weight, handling, acceleration and off road. Try many different combinations until you find the combination that best suits you. I'd like to point out that characters also influence the kart's weight, which can also add to your strategy.
Online is fun too, but sometimes it can be frustrating. When you choose online mode, you can play with your friends only in grand prix, single races or battles or you can play with randoms in single races or battle only. When in a server, everyone chooses a track and the game randomly picks out of the selected tracks. The items are just as balanced here but it is also much more difficult due to racers being much more skilled and aggressive this time around and the blue shell is more infuriating than ever. So the best racer will not always win, but the different outcome every time isn't so bad I suppose. Depending how you do, you are rewarded with a little VR which are points to show how well you're doing, coming in last will cost you 3 VR. Although occasionally frustrating, online can be a blast and has proven to be very addictive. For the most part, it runs very well too, but sometimes you may have to be patient for the game to load.
Although the design in the Mario Kart series has not changed over the years, the series continues to improve. Mario Kart 7 may just be the best game in this timeless franchise with 16 brilliantly design tracks and 16 retro courses, exciting gameplay, loads of unockables and plenty of customization at your disposal. Other additions like gliding and under water are also just as welcome and help MK7 stand out from the other games. Whether you're playing online or in grand prix mode, Mario Kart 7 is the top of its class and is a must have for your growing Nintendo 3DS collection. Be warned though, you won't be putting it down for a long time.